The country's largest power producer CEZ said on Friday it had lost all supplies from its largest coal-burning power plant in northwest Bohemia after wind damaged the grid. A spokesman for CEZ said a storm late on Thursday had torn down two pylons and damaged another on the network connecting the firm's Prunerov plant to the national power grid. The spokesman said it would take several weeks to repair the grid and restore supplies, but added that customers had not suffered any disruptions.
President Vaclav Klaus has been released from hospital, and is back on holiday with his wife Livia at the presidential chateau in Lany, outside Prague. Mr Klaus was admitted to Prague's General Teaching Hospital on Thursday evening after apparently overexerting himself in the hot weather. He was released on Friday after undergoing tests. The 62-year-old president checked himself into hospital after falling ill following a game of tennis. Mr Klaus had spent last week at a spa in Karlovy Vary, where he was recovering from a recent bout of tonsillitis. A spokesman for the president said tests had shown Mr Klaus was completely healthy.
The High Court in Olomouc has increased sentences of two Albanians who were found guilty in April of trafficking in heroin. Naim Kollcaku will spend ten years behind bars instead of three, while his countryman Javer Karagjuzi will spend six years in prison instead of two. A Czech accomplice's sentence was not raised. The High Court increased the sentences after a new witness appeared to testify against the men.
Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla has called for open dialogue to relieve mounting tension with labour unions over his government's proposed fiscal reforms. The reform package - which is now being considered by parliament - includes layoffs and pension cuts in the public sector that are opposed by the country's largest union umbrella group, the Czech-Moravian Federation of Trade Unions. Mr Spidla said in a newspaper interview the only way to resolve the conflict was to engage in constant dialogue. Prague could see demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of public sector workers in September, as parliament prepares to vote on the package.
Franz Ulrich Kinsky, a descendant of the Kinsky noble family, has said he will demand that the Czech state return hundreds of antiques and other historical artefacts which he said were wrongfully seized from him after the Second World War. Mr Kinsky's lawyer said the artefacts - including paintings, engravings and a large library of antique books - had been taken from property which was confiscated by the state. Mr Kinsky has filed a total of 157 lawsuits, asking the courts to declare him the legal owner of property including country homes and woodland. Most of the property was confiscated after 1945 from Mr Kinsky's father, an alleged Nazi sympathiser who died before the war. However Mr Kinsky says the property belonged to him, not his father, and the confiscation was therefore illegal. He has so far won five cases in court.
Temperature records fell across the Czech Republic on Wednesday, with the highest temperature ever recorded in Moravia - 38.2 Celsius - being reached in Breclav. The west Bohemian town of Plzen saw a new record temperature of 38.3 degrees. Prague saw an August 13 record set in 1861 broken, with a temperature of 36.8 degrees. The Czech Republic has been hit by tropical weather in recent weeks; rivers have been running very low in some parts of the country and some forest paths closed due to the danger of fires.
The oldest Czech to have served as a soldier in World War I, Alois Vocasek, died on Saturday at the age of 107, the website euro.cz reported on Wednesday. At the time of his death Mr Vocasek was attempting to take a case to the European Court of Human Rights, saying he was wrongfully imprisoned after World War II for collaborating with the Nazis. Alois Vocasek, who was born in 1896 near Kolin, married for the fourth time at the age of 97.
The Supreme Audit Office also gave more details on Wednesday about the misuse of almost 900 million crowns in the government's Internet for Schools project. While 90 percent of schools should have received internet access by 2002, in reality only 55 percent had, even though 85 percent of the budget had been used. On Tuesday the office said it would file a lawsuit in connection with the missing millions.
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